Sleep Apnea

The Sleep Center at Christian Hospital specializes in treating sleep apnea in adults and children.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is when breathing repeatedly starts and stops during sleep. This condition may be fatal.

To schedule an appointment or for more information please call 314.747.9355 or toll-free 877.747.9355 or email us.

Types of Sleep Apnea

  • Obstructive sleep apnea: occurs when air cannot flow into or out of the person's nose or mouth although efforts to breathe continue.
  •  Central sleep apnea: occurs when the brain fails to send the appropriate signals to the muscles to initiate breathing.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

The following are common symptoms associated with sleep apnea:

  • Loud and disruptive snoring
  • Breathing that starts and stops during sleep
  • Excessive daytime drowsiness
  • Waking up short of breath
  • Insomnia
  • Early morning headaches
  • Apneic events
  • Choking sensations
  • Concentration problems

Who is Affected by Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea seems to run in some families, suggesting a possible genetic basis. People most likely to have or develop sleep apnea include those who:

  • Snore loudly
  • Are overweight
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have some physical abnormality in the nose or throat

Causes of Sleep Apnea

Certain mechanical and structural problems in the airway cause the interruptions in breathing during sleep. Apnea occurs:

  • When the throat muscles and tongue relax during sleep and partially block the opening of the airway.
  • When the muscles of the soft palate at the base of the tongue and the uvula relax and sag, the airway becomes blocked, making breathing labored and noisy and even stopping it altogether.
  • In obese people when an excess amount of tissue in the airway causes it to be narrowed.
  • With a narrowed airway, the person continues his or her efforts to breathe but air cannot easily flow into or out of the nose or mouth.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis of sleep apnea can be diagnosed by a primary care doctor, pulmonologist, neurologist or sleep specialist. The following are test that are used to diagnose sleep apnea:

  • Polysomnography
  • Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT)

Diagnostic tests are performed at the Sleep Center at Christian Hospital.

Specific treatment will be determined by your doctor. Sleep apnea treatment may include any of the following: 

  • Medications
  • Behavioral and lifestyle changes
  • CPAP
  • Dental devices
  • Surgery
    • Common surgical procedures to remove adenoids, tonsils or nasal polyps
    • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)
    • Surgical reconstruction of the lower jaw
    • Surgical procedures to treat obesity

To schedule an appointment or for more information please call 314.747.9355 or toll-free 877.747.9355 or email us.